How did ideas about religion and government influence colonial life?

8.11 Describe the significance of and the leaders of the First Great Awakening, and the growth in religious toleration and free exercise of religion.

What do you see?

Write 3-5 sentences describing what you see/think is happening in this picture.

• Read page 121-122 in your text.

• Your purpose in reading is to determine what the

Great Awakening was, who were the important people and why did it happen.

• Take notes so that you can answer those questions.

Before the Great Awakening

• Before the 1730s, most colonies had two established religions.

• Congregationalism was the largest religion in New England (Puritans and other dissidents who broke away from the Church of England).

• Anglicanism was the largest religion in

New York and the Southern colonies (same as the Church of England).


The First Great Awakening

As the colonies became more successful, people felt as if they had lost their faith

Was a large motivation for founding the colonies

Sparked a religious revival known as the Great


A revival of religious feeling in the American colonies during the 1730’s and 40’s

What was the Great Awakening?

George Whitefield preaching

• Religious revival movement

• Evangelicism –

“new birth” considered the ultimate religious experience

• Followers accepted that they were sinners and asked for salvation


Old Lights vs. New Lights

• Churches that grew as a result of the Great

Awakening: Presbyterianism, Methodism,

Baptism (New Lights)

• Great Awakening challenged authority and hierarchy of established churches (Old

Lights: Congregationalists and Anglicans)

• Great Awakening said that anybody could be converted and born again. You didn ’t need traditional church leadership to decide whether or not you belonged.


Leaders of the Great


George Whitefield

Jonathan Edwards

• Weakened the status of “old-fashioned” churches

• Encouraged people to use their own judgment and help others

• Introduced the ideas of equality and the right to challenge authority

• People began to feel confident in their own thoughts and decisions

• Helped contribute to colonists desire for independence and the

American Revolution

Discuss the following with your table group:

Why might the Great Awakening have unsettled many prominent church leaders of the time?

• ss

• 8:43

Encouraged people to use their own judgment

Introduced ideas of equality and challenging authority

First Great Awakening


“oldfashioned” churches First Great


A revival of religious feeling in the American colonies during the

1730’s and 40’s

Contributed to desire for colonial independence

Take a Stand

People must obey their rulers.

John Locke

• Read p. 122-123

• Examine the chart at the top of the page.

• Think/Ink/Share-answer the questions about the chart.

Baron de Montesquieu

• Finish 123

• How did Locke and Montesquieu impact the development of our current government?

The Enlightenment

• Along with religious change, the

Enlightenment introduced changes to scientific understanding

• An intellectual movement that stressed:

• Power of reason

• The importance of science for finding the paths to knowledge

• Colonists were now open to new scientific ideas

The Enlightenment

• Ben Franklin = “Mr. Enlightenment”

• Worked constantly on inventions and on improving society

• Libraries, fire company, Franklin stove, lightning rod, bifocals,

University of Pennsylvania, etc.

• John Locke = Natural Rights

• Did not believe kings had a God-given right to rule

• People automatically have certain rights (life, liberty, property)

• To protect those rights, people created governments

• Government exists to protect the people

• Led colonists to wonder whether the British government protected their rights and freedoms


People automatically have certain rights (life, liberty, property)

Enlightenmentintroduced changes to scientific understanding

Government exists to protect people

John Locke =



Led colonists to wonder whether they were being protected